There’s a certain little confusion being displayed here over the employer / employee relationship among certain people at Microsoft. The basic deal is that if you’re an employee then you turn up and work and they agree to pay you. Choices as to what it is that the company does, the work that is to be done, rest with the employers, not the employees.
This does not then go into reverse because the employees are hard to find and highly skilled – quite the opposite in fact:
Dozens of Microsoft employees have signed a letter protesting the company’s $480 million contract to supply the U.S. Army with augmented-reality headsets intended for use on the battlefield. Under the terms of the deal, the headsets, which place holographic images into the wearer’s field of vision, would be adapted to “increase lethality” by “enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy,” according to a government description of the project. Microsoft was awarded the contract in November. “We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers, and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression,” the employees state in the letter, which was published on an internal message board and circulated via email to employees at the company Friday.
That’s entirely fine, absolutely and entirely your choice, of course it is. We no longer – thankfully – have conscription and thus how you rent out your labour is entirely up to you. It’s the method of exercising that choice which is under debate here:
Some Microsoft Corp employees on Friday demanded that the company cancel a $480 million hardware contract to supply the U.S. Army, with 94 workers signing a petition calling on the company to stop developing “any and all weapons technologies.”
No, really. If you think you shouldn’t labour on military technologies then don’t labour on military technologies. But you do need to realise how this all works. You are employees here and if your terms of employment are not to your liking then there’s the door, quit and go find another job.
You might have noticed that there’s something of a shortage out there of good engineers. That’s why the wages on offer are so good. And why there’ll be no problem in finding another job given your moral stance here.
The correct response to your employer doing something you don’t like to go find another employer. So, stand by your moral principles and quit.